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“Great place, but beware the approach road!”

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Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Bolton, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Great place, but beware the approach road!”
Reviewed December 12, 2012

By the time you've navigated the long rutted and dodgy approach road, you arrive in a little oasis. The cottages and rooms spacious and well-decorated, and attention to detail makes for a very comfortable stay. The facilities are very well built, serviced and maintained, which is a good thing because when we arrived (after a very bad storm) the approach road was more like a dried up riverbed.

The surrounding bush is lovely with lots of bird life, and evenings spent adjacent to the Tati riverbed having a BBQ make it easy to relax, if you're prepared for the onslaught of a bizarre array of insect life. Although it's near Francistown with it's super food shopping, the approach is so daunting and takes as long as the drive to town once you've hit the A1that I'm not sure I'd stay there again because you need a 4x4 to get from the main road to the lodge.

Great when you get there, but that's the really tricky part!

Room Tip: Cottage for a big/family group. Got a great bathroom
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Skt999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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188 reviews from our community

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English first
Gaborone, South-East, Botswana
Level Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 30, 2012

Subject: Woodlands Stop Over
Location: Francistown, North-East District, Botswana, Africa
Title: Greedy owner charges after check-in
ID#: 145250242

We WERE regular guests at Woodlands until we were charged extra for the trailers which comprised a broken down vehicle and an off-road trailer.
First extra charge was for the trailers, they did not mention this at check-in, then extra because we apparently overstepped the boundaries for the neighbouring camp site (Note: we were the only guests).
Then despite having rented a chalet we were charged again for the electricity where we connected the trailer fridge to the outside socket of the nearest empty chalet.

That in all shows a level of greed that is most disgusting, we would have been ready to discuss all issues before booking in or whilst we were inspecting the camp site and overnight options, given we had some request not to disconnect the trailers for reason of weight and inconvenience for early start next day.
Very disppointed witht he customer care attitude by the owner, I assume the employees act on instructions, so they are not to blame.

Full story here: http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php?t=130110

Please note: This is NOT a self promotional link but details to the whole event and reactions from people concerned on a public forum.

Despite the acknowledgement of the owner (Ann W) there was absolutely no improvement considered a similar report on these premises a few weeks earlier (Sep 2012 response Oct 2012)

To return.... well consider again!

Room Tip: Consider the access road in bad corrugation for 7 km (one-way) if you don't want to risk your ve...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Walter G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Africa
Level Contributor
136 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
Reviewed November 30, 2012

We found this establishment on the internet whilst in Palapye and it looked so inviting with green grass (a luxury in Botswana) and good write ups. We phoned to make sure there was availability and asked for a 'caravan site' and that we would be arriving in about 2 hours. The manager that we spoke to did not advise us of the 7km gravel road which is so badly corrugated that we had to stop to let down the caravan tyres to enable us to continue and during which stop, we discovered that the cupboard door in our van had fallen off. During this short wayside stop, a lady from a neighbouring property to Woodlands, stopped and asked us why we had stopped as it was a very dangerous area and that we should just continue to our destination. She then kindly waited for us and followed us. On arrival we were efficiently booked in but when shown the campsite we were horribly disappointed to discover that it was a dry sand bowl and that there was no grass virtually at all. We understand that there has been a drought but feel that this should be pointed out to prospective visitors as even the boards on the main road show a beautiful paradise. It is not as if one can make a quick assessment and leave again as it is a long way off the main road. The ablutions were nice and clean but altogether it was a very disappointing stopover for us. Added to this was the fact that we heard multiple gunshots during the night, in very close proximity to our caravan and later learnt that this is because of illegal immigrants crossing the border from Zimbabwe which is evidently very close by. I would definitely not stay here again.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank PonkySouthAfrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harare
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 22, 2012

Absolutely lovely! Rooms are spacious and well-decorated, and attention to detail makes for a very comfortable stay. The bush is lovely with lots of bird life, and evenings spent in the Tati riverbed make it easy to unwind for travellers. Would definitely recommend this as a stopover or a short break destination for shopping or business in Francistown. Nice and close to Francistown without feeling like you're in the city, and prices are fair and cater for a range of travellers.
My husband and I had a wonderful stay!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank gm35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed September 8, 2012

We would have given this a higher rating if it weren;t for the dreadful experience we had when we arrived.
Firstly we were completely ignored for about 15 minutes whilst the reception team spoke among themselves and we just stood there. Then it took 3 people to try and book us in and then they turned round and really rudely asked us when we would be paying the balance on our account. As far as we were aware there was nothing outstanding to pay as our travel agent had made the booking and made all necessary payments and had issued us with a voucher to say our campsite had been fully paid. When we questioned why we should pay the difference when we had been told by our agent it had been paid and had a voucher to that effect we were made to feel like we were trying to defraud them. We refused to pay the difference (it was only about six pounds sterling but ther attitude made it a point of principle). In the end the manager agreed to sort this directly with our agent.

We were then shown to our campsite where the boundaries of our pitch were very clearly explained to us - which seemed completely OTT when we were the only people camping that night.

The whole place had a feel like they were just out to make as much profit out of campers as possible at any cost -there was a notice in the showers requesting you to limit your shower to 3 minutes to save water - even when they were using sprinklers on the lawns and filling the swimming pool outside. When a young child staying in a chalet came to ask reception if he could have an extra sachet of coffee for his Mum as there was only one in their chalet when they arrived he was told he would have to buy one.

The reception staff were sullen and there was no warm welcome or banter that we have experienced at so many other places in this wonderful country. Not even "how was your journey", "have you come far", "how long have you been in Botswana" "What else have yo done on your trip". It was just pay us money, make sure you don't move outside your tent pitch and if you shower make it quick.

However, the place was easy to find and absolutely spotlessly clean and very peaceful.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank HaileyMcConville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AnneW278, Owner at Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge, responded to this review, October 19, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to review our establishment.
We are most concerned that your welcome to Woodlands was not what you had expected and is even more of a concern for us. Thank you for drawing it to our attention.
Firstly, please accept our sincere apologies for the lengthy delay in replying and secondly for the poor assistance that you were given.
We have a closed circuit camera in the office and so have been able to review the situation and have taken time to monitor the staff more closely since your experience.
Please be assured, that as a result of your review we have had a re-shuffle of our staff and have had re-training programmes put into place. The lady that was initially attending to you was a relief and a little unfamiliar with the routines. We also had an increase in the Government levy over which the industry had no control and which came into effect with little notice for us at large, causing some confusion at times (especially when accommodation had been paid in full prior to arrival) with the staff and much irritation for the guests. Our apologies again.
Our campsites have only recently been designated to try to prevent the frustration that you experienced and so our efforts in that area need to be re-addressed as well and staff re-trained in trying to explain to guests, without causing frustration, especially when we were not busy as you stated.
With regard to the "shower signs" in the ablutions, their intended message is to request of guests, when we are very busy, to please consider their fellow guests and not use all the hot water.
However, since your visit we have had to inform quests of an even more serious plight and that is one of serious water shortages. We have had to let the gardens, lawns and surrounds die and the place is looking most desolate, barren and most depressing. The little dam is but a puddle with the fish dying also. Our primary concern at the moment is to ensure that there is sufficient water for drinking and the ablutions.
We do endeavour to provide our guests with a pleasant, happy and memorable stay and so will accept all your criticisms in a positive light and address each one so that we ensure a warm welcome to guests whilst not compromising on the other high standards we set for ourselves.

We hope that your stay with us did not impact too negatively on your overall impression and visit to Botswana and that you would consider another visit to our beautiful country and to Woodlands in the near future again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodbridge, Tasmania, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 8, 2012

We stayed at Woodlands for 2 nights in early June this year. We didn't know what to expect as we hadn't really researched anything in the region, but found ourselves tired after a long motorbike ride that day. We stayed in the cottages and the room was absolutely delightful and very spacious with beautiful decor. Also enjoyed the large hot shower after a long day's ride!
There were accommodations on offering that would suit all budgets. You can bring your caravan, pitch a tent,use the camp rooms or do what we did and stay in the self contained rooms.
I really loved the range of amazng birdlife and spent the afternoon on the verandah of our room just clicking away at all these very tame and beautiful birds. We then strolled along the dry riverbed and explored more of the local wildlife.
We found the owners very welcoming and loved the bar-b-ques "bries" outside each cabin.Nothing seemed to be a bother for them and they even helped us with directions for the next day.

Room Tip: All of the self contained ones are well positioned.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Diane R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2012

The chalets are situated 7 miles from Francistown and off the main road north to Kasane.
It is situated too close to Kasane and with the current road condition most people travelling from Kasane would be better to push on to Palapye. The chalets are clean and adequate but really only suited for self-caters. If you are travelling in summer note that there are no air conditioners as it can be very hot and dusty.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Lastchance100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge

Property: Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge
Address: Plot 9/10/11 NQ 24 Gerald Estates | Tati Town, Francistown 0000, Botswana (Formerly Mike and Anne West)
Phone Number:
Location: Botswana > North-East District > Francistown
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Francistown
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge is a self catering establishment situated just 10kms north of Francistown just off the A3 National road. We have three different types of accommodation suiting the pockets of all travellers. A lovely, well appointed, family cottage with two en-suite bedrooms and all the comfortable amentities of home. Fully furnished and equipped. Eight Riverview en-suite rooms with their own kitchenette, also fully equipped. Very spacious, clean and comfortable. Six quaint chalets in the campsite making use of the immaculately clean ablution facility. These rooms (campsite chalets) do not have en-suite facilities. Lovely lawned campsites with water and power points for customer convenience. For the tired traveller a sparkling swimming pool welcomes you on arrival. A tranquil setting awaits all our valued patrons! We are ready to give a warm Botswana welcome. Dumelang! ... more   less 
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